Anyone With the Most Basic Geographic Knowledge Should Get 19/26 on This Quiz

By: Laura DeFazio
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
Anyone With the Most Basic Geographic Knowledge Should Get 19/26 on This Quiz
Image: Annette Bunch/Moment/GettyImages

About This Quiz

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines geography as "a science that deals with the description, distribution and interaction of the diverse physical, biological and cultural resources of the earth's surface." (For our purposes, this includes the features of the earth's crust located under bodies of water as well.) 

This means that geography is a very broad area of study. It encompasses landforms (think mountains, valleys, plateaus, caves) as well as bodies of water (think oceans, seas, and rivers). Geography also includes the arbitrary, human-made distinctions and delineations we draw on our maps. Country borders, for instance. The location of cities within countries (and with respect to the landforms) and the characteristics of these cities. All those invisible, straight lines that you see drawn on a globe such as longitude lines, latitude lines, the Equator and more. 

How well acquainted are you with the planet we live on? Can you name the biggest deserts and the deepest oceans? What about the largest country or most populated city? Do you know where the Great Barrier Reef is, or how many animal species live in the Amazon Rain Forest? If you don't, take this quiz! You'll soon have mountains of geographic knowledge under your belt.

Amazon Let's take a swim. Can you name the longest river in South America?
The Amazon
The Amazon River is almost 4,000 miles long. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, it's home to at least 2,500 species of fish, with many more yet unidentified. Flesh-eating piranhas are some of the river's more notorious inhabitants.
The Nile
The Madeira
The Purus

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Europe According to the United Nations, how many countries are there in Europe?
44
Europe's countries range from tiny Vatican City (an independent state contained within the city of Rome) to sprawling Russia, which extends onto the Asian continent as well as the European one. Kazakhstan, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia also span both continents. The total number of countries in Europe is disputed because some states have declared independence but aren't recognized by all other countries.
25
52
74

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Population Can you name the country with the highest population?
China
According to the US Census Bureau, China's population was about 1.389 billion in July 2019. India came in second with 1.312 billion, and the US came in third with 0.332 billion (aka 332 million).
India
Russia
The US

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Prime Meridian The Prime Meridian passes through which of the following cities?
Paris, France
Washington, D.C., USA
Muscat, Oman
Greenwich, England
The Prime Meridian is the line of longitude at zero degrees. (Longitude lines run vertically on the map, whereas latitude lines — like the Equator — run horizontally.) It's an arbitrary line that marks where "time starts." Historically, world clocks have been based on the time kept by the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England.

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Mountains Which of the following is NOT one of the world's top 10 highest mountains? (For all you nitpickers out there: We're measuring from sea level, not the center of the earth.)
K2
Mount Everest
Lhotse
Lambert-Fisher
Lambert-Fisher is the world's largest glacier and can be found in Antarctica. Mount Everest is the highest mountain if we're going by elevation above sea level. Still, if we're going by "farthest from the center of the Earth," the title belongs to Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador since the Earth bulges out at the Equator. If we're looking at the mountain with the greatest distance between its base and summit, Mauna Kea, a partially-submerged dormant volcano in Hawaii, takes the cake.

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Ocean Can you name the largest body of water on Earth?
The Pacific
With a surface area of approximately 63 million square miles, the Pacific Ocean covers about a third of the Earth. It's more than double the area of the Atlantic Ocean, which is "the next largest division of the hydrosphere," as the Encyclopedia Britannica puts it. The Pacific is also the deepest ocean, with a maximum depth of about 36,200 feet.
The Atlantic
The Arabian Sea
The Artic Sea

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Arctic Which of the following is true about the Arctic Circle?
It contains the smallest continent on Earth.
It's ruled by Finland.
It covers about 4% of the Earth's surface.
The boundary of the Arctic Circle is defined not by seas or landmasses but an arbitrary line of latitude that circles the North Pole, the northernmost point of Earth's axis. The Arctic Ocean takes up most of this area, but it also contains pieces of Canada, Russia, Finland, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Sweden, the US (Alaska) and Iceland.
It's synonymous with the Arctic Ocean.

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World Map Do you know which continent contains the most countries (including island nations)?
Europe
Asia
Africa
With 54 countries, Africa has the most sovereign nations of any continent. There are also a few disputed territories that don't make that list, including the partially recognized Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and the unrecognized de facto state, Somaliland. (Its independence has not been officially internationally recognized, but it does have control over the land it's claimed.)
Oceania/Australia

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Rainforest This famous place is home to over 40,000 plant species, about 1,300 types of birds and about 3,000 freshwater fishes. Can you name it?
The Galapagos Islands
Siberia
The Mediterranean Sea
The Amazon Rainforest
That's right; the Amazon Rainforest is one of the most vibrant ecosystems on the planet. With its trees serving as lungs for our planet, it's also one of the most vital to Earth's well-being. It's home to about 400 of each mammal, reptile and amphibian species, give or take a couple dozen.

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Africa Do you know which of the following is NOT located in Africa?
Serengeti National Park
Victoria Falls
The Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains form the border between Europe and Asia, falling between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. The Serengeti is in Tanzania, Victoria Falls is on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, and the Sahara is located in North Africa across Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Chad, Mali, Niger, Western Sahara, Sudan, Tunisia and Morocco.
The Sahara Desert

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Greenland Greenland is famous for its ...
Green land
Successful but peaceful fight for independence
Loud frogs
Glaciers
Glaciers form when snow stays in place year-round and eventually compresses into ice. This usually takes upwards of 100 years. Most of our planet's glaciers can be found in Greenland, Antarctica and Canada, but they also extend far from the Poles too, as long as the elevation is high enough. For example, there are African glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya and the Rwenzori Mountains.

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Himalayas Do you know where you'd find the Himalayas?
In Asia
The Himalayan Mountain Range — famous for Mount Everest and other staggeringly high peaks — can be found in Asia between the Tibetan Plateau and the Indian subcontinent. It's made up of three parallel strands of ranges: the Greater Himalayas, the Lesser Himalayas and the Outer Himalayas.
At the bottom of the Indian Ocean
In the Antarctic Circle
In North Africa

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Nile Which of the following is NOT true about the Nile River?
It's the longest river in Africa.
It's the longest river in the world.
It flows north to south.
The Nile River — the longest river in the world — originates midway down the African continent and flows northward to empty into the Mediterranean Sea. Historically, its annual floods have dumped nutrient-rich sediments along the banks, creating arable farmland that provided the cornerstone of various civilizations.
It was fundamental to the formation of ancient Egyptian societies.

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Landscape Which of the following is NOT one of the top 10 largest countries (by area)?
Canada
Algeria
Brazil
Mexico
Mexico is the 14th largest country by area. Russia tops the list at over 6.6 million square miles, followed by Canada, the US, China, Brazil, Australia, India, Argentina, Kazakhstan and Algeria.

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Desert Can you name the world's largest desert? (We're gonna let you know off the bat that it's kind of a trick question ...)
The Sahara Desert
The Gobi Desert
The Patagonian Desert
Antarctica
Although "hot and sandy" is generally what comes to mind when we think of deserts, these geographical features are actually defined by the amount of precipitation they receive and their hostility towards supporting lifeforms. By the technical definition, Antarctica is our biggest desert. The Sahara in Africa is the biggest of the sandy-type ones.

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Bering Strait Do you know which two places are separated (these days, anyways) by the Bering Strait?
Russia and the US
The Bering Strait runs between Alaska and Russia's Chukotka Penisula. It's just over 50 miles wide at its narrowest point. Over 11,000 years ago, however, the strait was a land bridge, and that's how humans arrived in the Americas.
Mainland Africa and the Arabian Peninsula
Eastern and Western Berlin
Canada and Scandinavia

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Mongolia The country of Mongolia is known for which sprawling geographic feature?
The Arabian Sea
The Mongolian Sea
The Kisatchie Forest
The Gobi Desert
The Gobi Desert covers about 500,000 square miles of southern Mongolia and northern China. It's made of steppes, sands, mountains and dunes, and it's famous as the discovery site of important dinosaur remains.

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Coast Pack up your beach gear (maybe ...) and head to the country with the most coastline. Can you name it?
Canada
With over 125,500 miles of coastline, Canada certainly has a lot of access to the ocean. That doesn't mean you'd necessarily want to go swimming in most of it though; the farther north you go, the colder it gets, all the way up to the frozen reaches of the Canadian Arctic.
Chile
Russia
Australia

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Great Barrier Reef The Great Barrier Reef is located closest to which of the following countries?
New Zealand
Tuvalu
The Philippines
Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest reef system and can be seen from outer space. It's a very popular tourist destination and is best accessible from towns in Queensland, Australia such as Cairns, Port Douglas and Townsville.

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Lake Michigan Do you know how many Great Lakes there are?
Four
Five
The Great Lakes, located between the US and Canada, are called Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior. (Many people find the acronym "HOMES" helpful for remembering them.) The largest is Lake Superior.
Six
Seven

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Underwater Where is the Mariana Trench?
Just to the north of the Indian subcontinent
At the bottom of the Pacific Ocean
The Mariana Trench is the deepest trench in the world, stretching down over 36,000 feet below sea level. It can be found at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Mariana Islands, which are east of the Philippines and southeast of Japan.
Just outside the world's most populous city
On the Great Plains (US)

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Ring What on Earth is "the Ring of Fire"? (And we do mean "on Earth," not "in a Johnny Cash song" ... )
The Equator
A dry Australian region
An area around the Pacific Ocean
The Ring of Fire is a horseshoe-shaped (like an upside-down U) region bordering the Pacific Ocean, circling its tectonic plate starting from the Southern Hemisphere down by Australia, running up around Asia, and back down North then South America. It's known for its numerous active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes.
Part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range

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South America Do you know which of the following is a defining feature of South America?
The Great Wall of China
The Danube River
The Black Sea
The Andes Mountains
The awe-inspiring Andes run north to south along South America, passing through seven countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. They were essential to the economy and culture of the Inca Empire, as well as to other peoples of the past and present.

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US Map Which of the following geographical wonders is NOT located in the United States?
The Grand Canyon
Banff National Park
The Grand Canyon is located in Arizona, Death Valley is in California, and the Badlands are in South Dakota. Banff, on the other hand, is in Alberta, Canada. It's known for its spectacular array of natural features: glaciers, ice fields, mountains, hoodoos, caves and more.
Death Valley
The Badlands

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Fuji Do you know where Mount Fuji is located?
Japan
Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan and is actually made of three volcanos stacked on top of one another. It's still active, and the last time it erupted was in 1707. Mount Fuji and the surrounding areas were historically used as samurai training grounds.
India
Indonesia
Taiwan

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European Couple Which of the following geographical features will you not find in Europe?
The Alps
The Black Forest
The Cliffs of Moher
Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca is located high in the Andes (a South American mountain range), on the border of Peru and Bolivia. The Alps, on the other hand, pass through Italy, Switzerland, Monaco, France, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Slovenia. The Cliffs of Moher are located in Ireland, and the Black Forest can be found in Germany.

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Equator The Equator runs through which of the following countries?
Australia
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Equator also passes through these other African countries: the Republic of the Congo (yep, that's a separate place), Uganda, Kenya, Sao Tome & Principe, Gabon and Somalia. In South America, it passes through Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil. In Asia and Oceania, it passes through the Maldives, Indonesia and Kiribati.
Fiji
Mexico

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A continent
At about 5.4 million square miles, Antarctica is the third-smallest continent. (However, it has no permanent occupants that we know of, so it's by far the smallest in terms of population.) The other continents, in order from largest to smallest area, are Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe and Australia/Oceania.
A territory of Denmark
One big glacier
Where Santa lives

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Latitude Which of the following is not one of the Earth's five major circles of latitude?
The Equator
The Arctic Circle
The Tropic of Capricorn
The Bermuda Triangle
The five major circles of latitude, from north to south, are the Arctic Circle, the Tropic of Cancer, the Equator, the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle. The Bermuda Triangle is a nebulous region of the Atlantic Ocean (approximately between Florida, Puerto Rico and Bermuda) where many ships are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

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Thames Which one of these rivers does NOT flow through North America?
The Rio Grande
The Mississippi
The Thames
The Thames is about 215 miles long and runs through London, England. It's historically been at the center of the city's industry. It also flows through Oxford, Reading, Henley-on-Thames and Windsor.
The Milk River

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Canada O, Canada, how many provinces dost thou have?
10
The Canadian Provinces are Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland & Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. There are also three vast territories in northern Canada: the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
13
Seven
22

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Measure Do you know the smallest country capital (by area, not population)?
Sarajevo
Seoul
Vatican City
Vatican City is an autonomous nation (and the capital of said nation) located entirely within the city of Rome, Italy. It measures only 0.17 mi in area! Vatican City (also called the Holy See) is the seat of the Pope, the leader of the Catholic Church.
Kigali

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Dense Do you know which U.S. state is the most densely populated? (P.S. Washington, D.C. doesn't count as a state.)
New Jersey
With over 1,200 people per square mile, New Jersey is the most populated state in the US, followed by Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. The least densely populated state is Alaska, followed by Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota.
New York
Rhode Island
Massachusetts

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Dead Sea Do you know where the Dead Sea is located?
Australia
New Zealand
Scandinavia
The Middle East
The Dead Sea can be found in the Middle East (Southwest Asia) between Israel and Jordan. It's famous for its ridiculously high salt content, which is hostile to most lifeforms. Exceptions include microorganisms such as certain types of fungi and bacteria. The shoreline around the Dead Sea is also the lowest exposed land on the face of the planet.

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Archipelago Can you tell us which of the following terms has nothing to do with geography?
Loess
Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy is a book of the Bible. Loess is a type of yellowish-brown silt-like sediment deposit that covers about 10% of the earth's surface, and Pangea is the name given to the supercontinent that existed during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic Eras. (It broke up to form the continents we have today.) An archipelago is a group of islands.
Pangea
Archipelago

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